Queens Moat shareholders' group enlists aid from City

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The Independent Online
LEADERS of the growing action group of shareholders in Queens Moat Houses claim they have enlisted the help of one City institution, and hope to sign up four more.

Denis Woodhams, owner of 3,000 of the suspended shares in the distressed hotels group, said: 'The institution has donated several hundred pounds into the fighting fund.

'I cannot say who the institution is, or who the others are because they have asked to be treated confidentially.'

The action group's committee, chaired by Sir Anthony Beaumont- Dark, said it had 1,500 members who had been asked to contribute 2p for every share they hold.

Mr Woodhams declined to reveal how many had answered or how much had been raised, but said the money had been lodged in a higher- rate interest account.

The dissident investors are pushing for a meeting with Queens' new board of directors, who include Andrew Coppel, chief executive, and Stanley Metcalfe, chairman.

'The members are anxious to ensure not only that insitutional shareholders should be encouraged to look critically at any proposals for the future of the company, but that all shareholders should be given sufficient time for proper informed judgements to be made on the proposals expected from the directors,' Mr Woodhams said.

A meeting of 100 members of the action group in Birmingham last Thursday endorsed efforts to ensure shareholders' interests were considered in any reconstruction.

Mr Woodhams said some members were surprised that the company's management had made no moves to discuss matters 'with what is already a significant body'.

He said the action group spoke for up to 60 million shares, equal to 5 per cent of the ordinary equity.

Queens said it had no intention of meeting the group. 'We act for all shareholders, and it would not be right to hold talks with individual action groups,' it said.